Leveling the Playing Field: Industrial Policy and Export-Contingent Subsidies in India-Export Measures
28 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2021 Last revised: 29 Mar 2021
Date Written: February 12, 2021
In India-Export Measures, the United States challenged a range of Indian measures as prohibited export- contingent subsidies, and a WTO panel largely agreed. This article examines the factors at play in the United States’ decision to bring the challenge. At the level of policy, the United States case reflects India’s graduation from the protections afforded developing nations’ export-contingent subsidies under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. A closer examination, however, shows that India ramped up its export-contingent subsidies just as the SCM Agreement required it to wind those subsidies down. Moreover, the expanded Indian subsidies led to increased import competition with the politically influential metals and pharmaceutical sectors in the United States, which pushed the U.S. challenge. We reflect on the larger implications of the challenge for the future of trade rules on industrial policy. In particular, we note that the United States pursued a trade enforcement policy that would have the effect of increasing pharmaceutical prices in the United States, by reducing subsidies for imported generic drugs, at a time at which the Trump administration allegedly was trying to reduce the price of prescription drugs. This disconnect suggests the need for both greater transparency in trade policy and greater governmental coordination on the connection between trade policy and other policy priorities.
Keywords: industrial policy, WTO, India, export subsidies, policy coherence
JEL Classification: F13, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation